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DID YOU READ

Twilight of the Bad Lieutenant

Twilight of the Bad Lieutenant (photo)

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Holiday festivities are about to kick into full gear, but you wouldn’t know it looking at this angst-ridden release slate, since the closest we come to Christmas is Nicolas Cage’s “Bad Lieutenant” doing a lot of “snow.” Instead, planets are discovered, new moons rise and suns set.

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“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans”
Ever since Nicolas Cage was shown clinging to his “lucky crackpipe,” cinephiles have been jonesing for Werner Herzog’s re-imagining of Abel Ferrara’s arthouse cop thriller. After months of backbiting between Ferrara, who suggested that the film’s producers “burn in hell,” and Herzog’s admission that he had never seen the original film, audiences will finally see Cage in the shoes of Terence McDonagh, the hopped-up, hopelessly bent detective who shakes down suspects and random pedestrians on the trail of an elusive kingpin responsible for the brutal slaying of five Senegalese immigrants.
Opens in limited release.

“The Blind Side”
Having solidified her rom-com career this summer, Sandra Bullock gets more serious this fall as a feisty champion of the less fortunate in this drama from “The Rookie” writer/director John Lee Hancock, based on the early life of NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher. Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, a God-fearing Tennessean who takes the gentle giant (Quinton Aaron) off the streets of Memphis and, with the aide of her husband (Tim McGraw) and Kathy Bates’ no-nonsense tutor, sets about rebuilding his shambolic education and turning him into an NFL-quality left tackle.
Opens wide.

“Broken Embraces”
Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz, one of the very best director/star partnerships, reunite once more for this genre-splicing love story, flitting from light to dark with all the trademark cinematic verve we’ve come to expect from the Spanish auteur and his muse. A pretzel-plotted saga of love lost and revenge sought, the story tells of Mateo Blanco (Lluís Homar), a blind filmmaker who, upon learning of the death of his former friend and producer Ernesto Martel (José Luis Gómez), is approached by the man’s resentful son to write a script eviscerating his late father in fiction. The picture drifts back to the early ’90s as Blanco recalls the time both he and Martel vied for the affections of a wannabe actress/call girl (Cruz). In Spanish with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“Defamation”
With the dark shadow of the Holocaust still hanging over Israeli culture, documentary filmmaker Yoav Shamir examines the roots of anti-Semitism and tags along with a group of Jewish-American leaders and a class of Israeli high school students for a diversity of perspectives on the subject. What Shamir finds is a controversy over the victim complex that the term promotes, who it benefits and how this perceived menace has become seriously big business for those who claim to want to erase it.
Opens in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“Fix”
Documentarian Tao Ruspoli turns on his handheld camera for his first narrative feature, which not so coincidentally follows Milo and Bella, a couple of documentarians (Ruspoli and Olivia Wilde) who chaperone Milo’s skeezy brother Leo (Shawn Andrews) on his final day before a court-imposed stint in rehab for their latest film. Quickly discovering that he doesn’t have the money to pay for treatment (which means prison instead), the couple reluctantly dabble in drug dealing themselves to come up with the cash in a down and dirty fusion of “Go” and “The 25th Hour,” all to a soundtrack of Black Prez and Ima Robot, among others.
Opens in limited release.

“Frontier of Dawn”
Veteran French helmer Philippe Garrel directs his son Louis in this throwback to the heyday of the French New Wave, a drama sprinkled with elements of the supernatural that charts the fine line between blissful intoxication and insanity. Garrel Jr stars as François, a young photographer left reeling from the suicide of Carole (Laura Smet), an actress with whom he had an affair. A year later, François is looking to marry and move on, but is plagued by visions of the ghostly Carole, beckoning him to join her in the land of the dead. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“Loot”
A real-life treasure hunt, this debut from director Darius Marder dug up the best documentary prize at last year’s L.A. Film Festival and was recently nominated for a Cinema Eye Honor. With only the sketchy details of two World War II vets’ less-than-reliable memory as a guide, Marder follows Lance Larson, an amateur treasure hunter, as he scours the once bombed out rural locale of an Austrian village and the dense jungles of the Philippines in search of buried riches that the soldiers plundered 60 years earlier.
Opens in New York.

“Mammoth”
Celebrated Swedish writer/director Lukas Moodysson looks to garner an international audience with this, his first English-language feature, a transcontinental affair encompassing a trio of thematically linked narratives that invites obvious comparisons to “Babel.” In New York, Michelle Williams and Gael García Bernal’s bored millionaire married couple all but surrender the upbringing of their child to their live-in nanny (Marife Necesito), whose presence, in turn, leaves her own children in the Philippines without her. The situation is further exasperated when Bernal’s video game mogul travels to Thailand, where he comes into contact with a streetwise sex worker (Run Srinikornchot), who does what she has to in order to take care of her child. In English and Tagalog and Thai with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“The Missing Person”
“Revolutionary Road” star Michael Shannon stars as a well-groomed private eye hired to follow a man who was believed to have died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in this Sundance alum written and directed by Noah Buschel. Amy Ryan, Frank Wood and Margaret Colin co-star.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on November 27th.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.